The Charitable Trust

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The Farmers Club Charitable Trust continues to innovate – this year adopting a fresh approach to developing educators as well as stepping up its focus on leadership. Charles Abel reports.

FIVE excellent UK farming educators have been selected to receive special support from the Farmers Club Charitable Trust in 2018, with a special focus on dairying and apprenticeships.

With some common themes emerging during selection interviews the panel took the unprecedented step of calling a round-table fine-tuning exercise earlier this spring, so all five applicants could combine forces to deliver an overall package to the Club, the industry, and their students.

“It’s a case of one and one adding up to a lot more than two,” noted Club Vice-Chairman Nick Helme, who sat on the panel. “With apprenticeships, dairying, welfare and sustainable intensification bubbling up throughout the short-listed candidates it was an obvious step to call them together to see if we could make this something more than the sum of the parts.”

Selection panel chairman Prof Ian Crute CBE, former AHDB Chief Scientist, endorsed the approach. “The Trust bursary scheme aims to develop up-and-coming educators, by funding a study tour, often overseas. By working together we believe this year’s cohort will benefit from each other as well as the travels they do.”

The fine-tuning day held in the Forty Room at the Club in late April ensured any potential duplication was avoided, and more importantly helped to further develop the concepts being explored. “Our aim was to help applicants benefit each other, and it proved very worthwhile, with lots of fresh thinking emerging to deliver more focus to the projects being undertaken,” commented FCCT trustee and chair for the day Des Lambert OBE, principal of Plumpton College in East Sussex from 2003-2015.

New FCCT trustee Meryl Ward MBE, chair of AHDB Pork until March 2017, was especially keen to see how the beneficiaries could co-ordinate activities. A WhatsApp group to share experiences and pose questions during the research phase was an immediate outcome. Full reports of the studies will be available on the farmers Club website in due course, with summaries in future issues of the Journal.


Member support

Members wishing to contact any of the award winners, with questions, contacts or advice regarding their study topics, can do so via the Journal Editor e-mail:




A total of £25,000 is typically available for up to eight bursaries for short-term study projects undertaken by lecturers at UK based agricultural colleges and university departments, to enable them to widen and develop their technical expertise principally overseas.

The study projects are not normally more than six weeks duration but longer-term projects will be considered under exceptional circumstances. 

Applicants, with the exception of candidates under 30 years of age, must at the time of application be actively involved in agricultural education or in a recognised establishment in the United Kingdom.

The following information must be provided:

  • Outline plan of the programme of study they wish to undertake.
  • The country and place(s) where the study would be based.
  • The names and addresses of two referees, one of whom should be familiar with the applicant's present employment.
  • An endorsement by the employer to the effect that he/she, subject to the applicant being successful, will be willing to:
    • Support the candidate's outline proposals and
    • Continue to pay the applicant's salary for the duration of the award
  • An endorsement by the applicant to the effect that:
    • They are prepared to fulfil the conditions of the award, including the completion of a
    • With the exception of under candidates under 30 years of age, confirm it is their intention report and, if required, the presentation of a paper to continue, at least for three years, in agricultural education upon completion of the study. Preference may be given to younger candidates where those shortlisted are of similar quality.

A brochure and application form will be available from September. The closing date for 2017 applications will be on 6 February 2017. The selection panel will then hold final interviews at the Club in March 2017 and results will be announced shortly thereafter.

The Farmers Club Charitable Trust was founded in 1981 to assist the agricultural community in achieving a number of objectives which will contribute to the development of the industry. Specific objectives are the dissemination of information, loans or scholarships or other financial assistance for research, or courses connected with the study of agriculture and support activities calculated to advance education and training in agriculture.

The Post-Graduate Study Award is part of the overall programme and is specifically designed to help those employed in agricultural education, between the ages of 22 to 50 years, to widen and develop their own technical expertise outside the United Kingdom. In doing so, it is anticipated it will both assist the career prospects of the applicant and also any students for which they will be responsible after their return. The successful applicants will be made honorary members of The Farmers Club for the duration of the award.

Please download an application form above or apply to the Secretary of The Farmers Club Charitable Trust:

Andrei Spence,
The Farmers Club 3,
Whitehall Court,
London SW1A 2EL



Thirty years ago the Farmers Club Charitable Trust was established to “promote the science and technology of agriculture in all its aspects for the public benefit”. Three decades later the Trust has delivered more than £500,000 of funding for a wide range of farming projects, taking UK agriculturalists to all four corners of the globe.

At its inception the Trustees were keen to broaden the experience of those educating future generations of agriculturalists, and to facilitate the exchange of academic knowledge. Thirty years later, with the industry facing new challenges and an urgent need for a better public understanding of valuable and proven new science, I cannot envisage a more laudable goal.

The Trust always welcomes new funds by way of donation or legacies to maintain this valuable work and to add to the Trust endowment funds. If you feel that you, or an individual, organisation or trust you know can help, please contact Club Secretary/Chief Executive, Andrei Spence, in confidence.

Over the past 30 years more than 120 travel bursaries have supported projects as diverse as fish farming in Japan and Korea, value-added milk production in Australia, share farming in New Zealand and viticulture in California. The farming implications of global positioning, biotechnology, food legislation and molecular science have all come under scrutiny.

The brainchild of the late Trevor Muddiman,the Trust made its first grants in 1981,initially funded by donations and covenants from Farmers Club members, generously matched by the late Sir John Eastwood. In the late 1990s Trevor Muddiman’s wife, Stella, who is now a valued trustee, very generously transferred assets from a private family trust to the Farmers Club Charitable Trust. Over the years other club members and their families have also made very generous gifts to the trust funds.

This has ensured that the Trust continues to meet its objectives of disseminating information, providing bursaries, or courses connected with the study of agriculture, and supporting activities calculated in particular to advance education and training in agriculture.



In most years the Trust makes grants of over £20,000. In 2010, despite the economic downturn, grants totalling £30,000 were made, in support of studies in Uruguay, Uganda, Canada, Australia, Germany and the USA. The diversity of subjects (see list) is a wonderful testament to the enthusiasm of the applicants and highlights the very great value to the whole UK farming industry.

Over the years beneficiaries have come mainly from educational establishments and the extension services throughout the United Kingdom. Having served as ambassadors of the Farmers Club and UK farming during their study tours many have gone on to play leading roles in the education sector. Reports published in the Journal highlight the very high quality of the award recipients and the excellence of their work.

The post-graduate award assists those employed in agricultural education, aged 22 to 50, to widen and develop their own technical expertise outside the UK, enhancing their own career prospects and ultimately benefitting all the students for which they are responsible by sharing their experiences with future generations working in farming and the allied industries and professions.

The closing date for applicants is mid-February each year, with interviews of short-listed candidates conducted in mid-March and grants awarded thereafter, for post-graduate short-term study tours, normally overseas and rarely exceeding six weeks.

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